Coffee and tea. Coffee and tea contain caffeine which is a natural diuretic - it encourages the kidneys to excrete more water in the urine.

In fact coffee and tea are a bit of a mixed blessing. They do relieve the symptoms of water retention but because caffeine is a stimulant it can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and irritability and can prevent you relaxing and sleeping properly.

Most PMS doctors would advise cutting tea and coffee to no more than three or four cups a day. If you have trouble sleeping at night then try not to drink tea or coffee after 6pm as it takes roughly tour hours for the caffeine to work through your system.

Also watch out for soft drinks as many of them contain caffeine.

Alcohol. Alcohol is not banned if you're a PMS sufferer but you do have to be careful.

Alcoholic drinks contain a lot of sugar which can play havoc with blood sugar levels. Many women with PMS find that they get drunk more easily when they are premenstrual. So be warned!

It is probably sensible to stick to the current recommended guidelines of a maximum of 14 units a week (1 unit = 1 glass of wine or 2 glasses of low alcohol wine, 1 measure of spirits, or K a pint of beer or lager).

Drinking one or two glasses each day is far better for you than blowing your alcohol limit at one heavy drinking session.

Combating PMS is not as simple as just eating the right foods. When you eat those foods has been shown to have a major influence on the symptoms of PMS also.


Women's health